Past Heaven by Laura Ward
Not every love story has a happy ending. Some just change your life.
Liz Atwater’s happily ever after was torn from her the instant her husband, Jack, was murdered. She is forced to pick up the shattered pieces of her life and raise her three young sons alone.
Reynolds Carter’s picture perfect Hollywood life ended the moment the paparazzi got hold of his girlfriend’s cheating scandal. As he watches his life unfold in the tabloids, he comes to a crossroads in his career and his purpose.
When Reynolds takes on the challenge of a new project, his world collides with that of Liz. Neither of them expected their professional relationship to evolve into friendship, or love.
But life is never simple.
Faced with complications from family, friends, and colleagues, Liz and Reynolds are left to decide whether two people from such different worlds can find happiness together.
Can they get past the pain, fear, and guilt and risk their hearts to love again?
Not every love story is just a happy ending. Some completely change your life.
Past Heaven was my one book club read for this month and man it was not very good. I normally try to stay away from books where someone dies and the other person moves on quickly because I don't like that storyline. I don't like people moving on in less than a year after their partners death. It just seems...it just upsets me to read. I don't like it. So already I knew this was going to be a tricky read for me.
Unfortunately even if Liz would have waited longer, would have met Reynolds after an appropriate time when she has already started healing from the loss of her husband, I still would not have enjoyed this story. The first half of the book was me rolling my eyes so hard every two seconds. It was just everything happened instantly, everything was so coincidental, everything worked out perfectly and was just sunshine and roses. It just didn't work or feel real at all. That and it was contradictory. Not a good read. There was no depth to the story and so it just felt off.
Liz's husband Jack was this super amazing guy who worked to help shut down state run institutions for people with disabilities. He was murdered for doing just that and Liz is not over that. She has her three boys to look after and they are her life now. She still is in deep mourning for her husband and not ready to move on at all.
Reynolds is a big Hollywood star, but he is getting tired of how everything is fake in Hollywood. After his girlfriend cheated on him (she is a nightmare) he goes back home to stay with his parents for a bit and figure out what he wants to do now. Well here is where some super major eye rolling happens. He is going on to his parents about how they are perfect so they sit him down and tell him they aren't. After all they had a girl and she has a disability and they gave her up to the care of the state. She died shortly thereafter from abuse at the state run facility and they just feel horrible. The writing here is really not that good. Actually the writing throughout the book is not that good, but anyways. The way the parents tell this story is just so bad. The dialogue just doesn't seem real at all. Then immediately after that Reynolds sees a news story than mentions Jack and the work he was doing and how he was murdered. Reynolds immediately knows he needs to make a movie of Jack's life. He just needs to do it. Why? I am not sure. It didn't seem like he really connected to the story of his sister or even had time to process it. She only comes up like once more in the entire books so...it was just like here is this opportunity to build this character and show how he is connected to Jack and his work and whatnot, but it just was flat. It was like the whole side story of trying to help get people with intellectual or physical disabilities into better places, showing that they are real people like you and me, trying to help them live normal lives was just a side note to the story. For the amount of depth the author gave to the issue you could have inserted any issue into the story and it would have worked. It just was not handled in a way that made me care about any of it even though realistically I do. Not good.
So Reynolds and Liz start working together to write the screenplay of Jack's life. It was bad. Day one working together Liz is barely holding it together. She doesn't really notice Reynolds as some hot guy or anything and is just still not over Jack. Day two is a complete one eighty and she is all fan girl OMG! He is so hot! It was a mess. It was just like wait what? What is going on? How do you go from being so distraught to not even thinking about your husband in less than 24 hours? Everything happened instantly and everything changed instantly or contradicted itself every two seconds. Like Liz says at one time that she never noticed if other guys were attractive or not when she was married. She is not like some women who go gaga over hot guy. That is just not appropriate behavior for a mom and wife. Then shortly after that she is saying how Reynolds is her biggest celebrity crush and oh my goodness he is so hot! Well wait a minute. Did you notice guys or not? If you have a celebrity crush than you did so why were you going on about how you would never notice guys when you were married? It made no sense. This happened all the time. Someone would say or do one thing, then pretty much right afterwards would say or do the opposite. It drove me crazy.
My other issue with the story? Liz. I hated her. She is sooooo insecure and self deprecating. She is just so unattractive no one would even want to be with her. Cry me a flippin river. You have super hot Reynolds after you and you are just boo hoo me he couldn't really like me. And this is not just something that happened when the hot movie star showed up, which I could more easily understand. Nope, she was always this way. She was this way with her husband. She is not good enough for him, attractive enough to be seen with Jack, blah blah blah. I hate that. The way it was written made me just want to yell at her to just stop already. Stop with the poor me, I am so unattractive no one will ever want me bs. The way it was written I just could not handle it.
So yeah this was not the book for me. The second half was better than the first, not as many eye rolls, but it still wasn't good. The whole thing with Reynolds and Liz was just not for me.